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Hibari Misora
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Vocalist
    (May 29, 1937-June 24, 1989)
    Born in Isogo-ku, Yokohama, Japan
    Birth name was Kazue Kato
    Enka (sentimental ballads) singer and pop culture icon of her native Japan
    Recorded a total of 1,200 songs; sold 68 million records
    Appeared in over 150 movies
    Popular songs include 'Yawara,' 'Kawa No Nagare No Youni,' 'Midaregami, 'Janken musume,' and 'Ai Sann Sann'
    Acted in 'Tokyo Kid,' 'Takekurabe,' 'So Young, So Bright,' 'Kanashiki Kuchibue (The Sad Whistle),' and 'Ishimatsu: The One-Eyed Avenger'
    She was called 'the Judy Garland of Japan.'
    She divorced actor Akira Kobayashi, after only two years of marriage.
    Her father pushed her into a singing career when she was eight.
    There are continuing debates among fans over whether or not she was of Korean ancestry.
    She was known for the elaborate, lavish costumes and gowns she wore at concerts, in her later years.
    She was banned from performing at NHK's Year-end Song Festival, in 1973, after her brother was prosecuted for gang-related activity. She retaliated by refusing to appear on NHK for nearly a decade.
    Her stage name means 'lark in the beautiful sky.'
    She was credited with boosting Japanese morale post-WWII with her charming performances.
    She was attacked by an overexcited fan who splashed her with hydrochloric acid, in 1957 (thankfully it did not scar her face).
    She co-starred with American child star, Margaret O'Brien, in 'Futari no Hitomi' (arguably the first time an American appeared in a major Japanese film).
    Her swan song 'Kawa no Nagare no Yo ni' was voted in a Nippon Poll as the greatest Japanese song of all time by more than 10 million people (1997).
    The museum in her honor attracted more than 5 million visitors after it opened in 1994.
    She received a Japanese Medal of Honor 'for her contributions to music and for improving the welfare of the public.'
    She collapsed en route to a performance in Fukuoka and was hospitalized. She was later diagnosed with chronic hepatitis.
    She appeared to be making a recovery, resuming her schedule of performances/recordings, but succumbed quickly after being stricken by pneumonia.
    Her death sparked a period of national mourning, with sales of her recordings spiking dramatically (by 2001, she had posthumously sold 80 million albums).
    There is a special on Japanese television and radio which airs annually on her birthday, featuring her most popular songs.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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